ASUNCION, Sept 9 Paraguay scored twice in the
first half to beat toothless Venezuela 2-0 in a World Cup
qualifier on Tuesday and stay top of the South American group.
Cristian Riveros and Nelson Haedo Valdez scored the goals
after poor defending by the visitors, who were equally
ineffective in attack as they failed to muster a single shot to
test Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar.
Paraguay, who have a 100 percent record from their four
home games, top the 10-team group with 17 points and will
complete the eighth round of matches in first position
regardless of the outcome of the four games to be played
Paraguay, who have qualified for the last three World Cups,
are five points clear of Brazil, who host Bolivia, and
Argentina, who visit Peru.
Riveros stabbed the ball in from close range after 28
minutes when he was quick to react after Claudio Morel
Rodriguez's low pass into the area deflected off a Venezuela
Paraguay's second goal came when Julio Manzur's long
clearance out of defence was headed on by Roque Santa Cruz into
the path of the unmarked Haedo Valdez, who placed his shot
under Renny Vega.
Venezuela, the only South American team never to have
played at a World Cup, remained on seven points after their
third successive defeat.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Buenos Aires; Editing by Ed